By: George Kurzom
Exclusive to Environment and Development Horizons:
The United States President, Donald Trump, announced that the U.S. would cease all participation in the 2015 Climate Paris Agreement in a time when 2017 was estimated to record the highest temperature rise in recorded history. In fact, Peru in Latin America has witnessed unprecedented floods that caused damage to more than one million people and the displacement of around one hundred thousand people from their lands. In addition to the risk of mass deaths in different parts of Africa that suffered from the worst drought recorded in the documented climate history, which will intensify famines.
Trump is pushing towards a renegotiation of the Paris Convention and thus giving the United States a privilege to significantly reduce its actions to fight climate change. We believe that the world cannot allow the United States to stall negotiations to the point of futility where their goal is aimed at pre-empting and erasing the results reached by most of the countries embodied in the Paris Convention. The world assumes immediate action to combat climate change, with or without the United States. The question remains: Do global leaders have the courage to exert economic and political pressure to force the United States into committing to serious climate action and contributing its fair share of combating climate change in order to protect the future of human existence and life on earth as a whole?
Trump does not only deny scientific arguments about climate change - both in terms of climate pollution and the provision of international funding to combat climate change - but he also ignores millions of people in the world's poorest communities, who are exposed to extreme climate change and threatened with their existence.
Ironically, Americas’ poorest communities whose ethnic origins are not like Trump's blonde skin and blue eyes, are already suffering from environmental injustice, yet Trump is aggravating their suffering. In fact, most Americans oppose Trump's extreme agenda, which gives priority to fossil fuel profits at the expense of people's health and lives.
The American withdrawal from the Paris Convention must be condemned with the strongest terms by all the peoples of the world, not because the Paris Convention is perfect and certainly not because it will save the world from the climatic catastrophe, but because American withdrawal reveals a colonial arrogance and total disregard for the fate of humanity, in favor of the continued dominance of American elites and the interests of big companies, not to mention the authoritarian rejection of scientific facts.
Due to historic American pollution, different parts of the world, including the Arab region, are already suffering from the consequences of accelerating global warming, in the form of drought, fires and floods that devastate livelihoods and displace entire communities. Trump wants to aggravate this historical pollution and increase the suffering and death of the current and future generations in the Global South countries. This action cannot be tolerated and the United States must bear strong political, legal and economic consequences.
Prominent players who will determine, to a large extent, the fate of the Paris Convention are the EU, India and China. The latter has made a strategic decision to move towards a renewable energy economy, however, it is not clear what will be the long-term consequences of this transformation. In India, the situation is less clear as the use of polluting fuels remains vital to the growth of the Indian economy.
The EU will remain the central determinant of the Paris Convention, noting that long term EU measures have been taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The EU considers this action as a traditional task carried out by the EU until last year, without the United States and China, which until the signing of the Paris Convention were not obliged to reduce their emissions.
Translated by: Ghadeer Kamal Zaineh